The University of Oregon has adopted an academic-freedom policy that provides broad protections not just to faculty members, but to all of its employees, and also its students.

Michael R. Gottfredson, the university’s president, signed the measure on Wednesday, following its unanimous passage last month by the faculty senate.

The policy has been heralded as among the nation’s strongest by the institution’s fledgling faculty union, United Academics of the University of Oregon, which is affiliated with both the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers.

The policy applies broadly to “members of the university community,” including those employed as administrators and staff members. It covers speech connected to research, teaching, public service, and shared governance, offering university employees explicit assurances that they cannot be fired for speech related to campus policies.

“Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance,” the policy says.

It adds: “The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. Only serious abuses of this policy—ones that rise to the level of professional misbehavior or professional incompetence—should lead to adverse consequences.”

In remarks delivered to the faculty senate on Wednesday, President Gottfredson said he had favored such provisions to ensure that academic freedom there could not be narrowed by the federal courts in the wake of a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision denying First Amendment protections to the speech of most or all public employees.

That ruling, in Garcetti v. Ceballos, held that public agencies may discipline their employees for statements made in connection with their jobs, but put off the question of whether it applied to “speech related to scholarship or teaching.” Lower federal courts have split over whether faculty members at public colleges are covered by Garcetti or have broader speech protections than those afforded other public employees.

Several other public higher-education institutions, including the Universities of California, Michigan, and Washington, have adopted policies enshrining the academic freedom of faculty members in response to Garcetti, but have not sought to similarly protect the speech of other employees or students.

The University of Oregon’s policy is the product of some heated debate between the faculty and the administration, which last year initially resisted United Academics’ calls for contract language protecting the right of faculty members to criticize the university’s policies and actions. United Academics eventually persuaded the administration to drop that demand and others, such as a call for contract language requiring civility in workplace interactions, that union leaders saw as threatening academic freedom.